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'We need it at this end of town': Smoketown looking forward to community grocery store

Project officials says they have plans to involve the community in ways that go deeper than just being a customer.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Smoketown neighborhood will soon have a new community grocery store, and neighbors got the chance to see what's planned and have a say into what will be available.

"We are going to be here for the long haul," said Lachlan Cairns, the Deli Up Project Manager.

That's the hope of many neighbors for the newest community grocery store, Louisville Community Grocery, coming to the corner of Preston and Finzer Streets.

Deli Up is partnering with the grocer and will be providing consistent hot meals so people can "grab good healthy food," said Cairns.

Smoketown neighbors like Sharon Woods are looking forward to those choices.

"We need it at this end of town because that's not very much at this end of town," said Woods.

The area lacks grocery stores, but there is a staple the community knows and loves.

Yousef Ali, better known as Mr. Joe, owns the Neighborhood Food Market and has been in the area since 1982.

He says to see a store like his thrive for the last 40 years, you've got to actually immerse yourself in the community.

"If you're gonna open a store, they're going to have to have good management. And they've got to have good workers. I mean, they're going to teach people how to work, that's good," said Ali.

Credit: Ford Sanders/WHAS11

When you walk through the door at Joe's Neighborhood Food Market you're sure to find what you need. But, he says with the introduction of the grocery store, he hopes to see it last to serve this community like he has for years.

"It is good for it to stay. Because when I'm gone, I don't know who is going to take care of this store here," said Ali.

Tikesha Mclean was born and raised in Smoketown and says there's one key to Mr. Joe's success she'd like to see in the grocery store.

"He's an open and friendly person. It makes a big difference being able to be personal," Mclean said.

Cairns says they have plans to involve the community in ways that go deeper than just being a customer.

Credit: Ford Sanders/WHAS11

"It means any employee can become an owner of our business, it means any of our customers can become owners in our business," said Cairns.

In the meantime, they're starting to raise money to be able to open their doors.

If you would like to become a member of the grocery store, which gives you ownership access, click here or use a device to scan the QR code in the photo below.

Credit: Ford Sanders/WHAS11

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